Geothermal energy is really beneficial, offering people the ability to tap into the Earth for a renewable source of power. Once it was discovered, it became a revolutionary energy solution that quickly spread from one corner of the globe to the other. But as with any other power-generating solution, you might want to take a look at the upsides and downsides geothermal energy brings if you are thinking of using it for your home. So, to help you with coming up with a well-informed decision, we have gathered some answers to a probable question that is running inside your mind, “What are the advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy?”
List of the Advantages of Geothermal Energy
1. It is renewable.
This is probably the biggest advantage of geothermal energy—being renewable. This means that as long as we do not pump too much cold water into the Earth, which can cool off hot rocks, such energy will just keep on coming.
2. It allows for direct use.
Since the old times, we have been using this energy source for heating our homes, taking a bath, preparing our food and, today, heating directly our offices. This has made geothermal energy more affordable for everyone. Though the initial investment you have to make is quite high, you will enjoy huge cost savings in the long run.
3. It causes no pollution.
Another great advantage of using geothermal energy is that it does not produce any type of pollution. At the same time, it does not contribute to the worsening greenhouse effects.
4. Its set-up just requires less area.
Power stations that generate geothermal energy do not take up a whole bunch of room. Because of this, they tend to have less of an impact on their locations’ surroundings and the environment.
5. It does not require external power sources.
Due to the fact that geothermal energy is already energy in itself, it does not require an outside source of fuel to keep its power houses running.
6. It reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
According to expert observations, dependence on fossil fuels dropped with the rise in the use of geothermal energy. With the sky-rocketing oil prices, more and more countries are now pushing businesses and organizations to adopt such a clean source of energy. Also, it is important to note that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases that are the main cause of global warming.
7. It creates more job opportunities.
Considering that governments of various nations are now investing hugely in geothermal energy generation, more jobs for the people in the locality are also created.
8. It is economical.
Efficiency of geothermal energy even offers a more exciting benefit to the frugal homeowner. By building a geothermal power station, the energy you can use is nearly, free! While it may require a little amount of power to run its pump, you can just tap into the existing energy to handle the task.
9. It offers significant cost saving.
Somehow related to the previous advantage, geothermal energy generally involves low-running costs, since it is capable of saving 80% of the costs needed to make use of fossil fuels and it needs no fuel to generate power. Also, the costs of purchasing, transporting and cleaning up plants are quite low.
List of the Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy
1. Its plant cannot be set up anywhere.
Perhaps the biggest downside of geothermal energy is that you just cannot set up its power station anywhere you want. First, you will need a location that has the right kind of hot rocks. Remember that not just any kind of hot rocks will do, since some of them are just too strong to drill through. These rocks also need to be within a reasonable depth to make drilling a feasible option. The most efficient place to have a geothermal plant constructed is a volcanic area.
2. It requires high installation costs.
To generate geothermal energy, installation of power plants that gather steam from deep within the earth is needed, which also require a huge one-time investment. In addition, electricity towers are needed to be set up to move the power generated from the plant to the consumers.
3. Its sources are not widespread.
Since geothermal energy is not widely used, the unavailability of infrastructure, equipment, staff, and training poses a hindrance to the installation of plants across the planet. This is not the only problem facing geothermal energy, but also the insufficient skilled manpower and availability of suitable locations.
4. Its sources might deplete.
In some cases, geothermal sites might, well, literally run out of steam, and when this happens, the dry spell may last for very long periods, such as decades.
5. It poses potential hazards.
When you are drilling into the earth and letting steam escape, other not-so-friendly things might escape as well. Hazardous minerals and gases can seep up from beneath the ground, and finding a solution to dispose of them safely may prove highly dangerous and difficult.
6. Its transportation processes are not that easy.
Put in mind that geothermal energy cannot be easily transported. Once we extract the tapped energy, the power can only be used in the surrounding areas, unlike other sources of energy, such as oil, coal and wood, which can be transported to residential areas.
So, when the time comes that you are considering making an energy change at home, it is important to weigh down the advantages and disadvantages that come with your decision. For geothermal energy, just like any other form of power-generation technology, it does not only bring about many benefits, but also drawbacks. If you live in a place where it is a viable solution, consider getting in touch with a geothermal site builder for some consultation. As an expert in the trade, he will be able to offer you a more thorough explanation of the benefits, risks and other important information behind geothermal efficiency and what this energy source can do for you.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.